United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
COLLINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Court has an independent obligation to ensure that subject
matter jurisdiction exists in an action before it. See
Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500 (2006);
Belleville Catering Co. v. Champaign Mkt. Place,
L.L.C., 350 F.3d 691, 693 (7th Cir. 2003). This Opinion
and Order summarizes the undersigned Magistrate Judge's
inquiry into the basis for the Court's jurisdiction in
American Hallmark Insurance Company of Texas filed the
complaint in this case on September 17, 2018, alleging
diversity of citizenship of the parties under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332 as the basis for jurisdiction. (See DE
1). As the party seeking to invoke federal diversity
jurisdiction, a plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating
that the requirement of complete diversity has been met.
Chase v. Shop ‘N Save Warehouse Foods, Inc.,
110 F.3d 424, 427 (7th Cir. 1997). Here, Plaintiff's
allegations of diversity jurisdiction are deficient for a
number of reasons.
a corporation is considered a citizen of the state by which
it is incorporated and the state where it has its principal
place of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1); N. Trust
Co. v. Bunge Corp., 899 F.2d 591, 594 (7th Cir. 1990).
Conversely, “if a firm is not incorporated, its
citizenship is determined by the citizenship of its
proprietor, partners, members, or other participants.”
Wild v. Subscription Plus, Inc., 292 F.3d 526, 528
(7th Cir. 2002); see Fellowes, Inc. v. Changzhou Xinrui
Fellowes Office Equip. Co. Ltd., 759 F.3d 787, 790 (7th
Cir. 2014) (finding that a business established under the
laws of China had the citizenship of every member-investor).
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Med Trans is “a
citizen of the State of Missouri” (DE 1 ¶ 12), and
Defendant PEHP Health Benefits is “a citizen of the
State of Utah” (DE 1 ¶ 18). However, Plaintiff
fails to identify how these Defendants are organized; i.e.,
whether they are corporations or unincorporated associations.
Therefore, Plaintiff must inform the Court how PEHP Health
Benefits and Med Trans are organized. If PEHP Health Benefits
or Med Trans is incorporated, then the Court must be informed
of the state in which that Defendant has its principal place
of business, and in which state it is incorporated to ensure
that it does not share citizenship with Plaintiff. If PEHP
Health Benefits or Med Trans is an unincorporated
association, then its citizenship must be “traced
through multiple levels” for its members or partners,
as anything less can result in a dismissal for want of
jurisdiction. Mut. Assignment & Indem. Co. v.
Lind-Waldock & Co., LLC, 364 F.3d 858, 861 (7th Cir.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Illinois Farmers Insurance
Company is “a citizen of the State of Illinois, [and]
is . . . the subrogee of the owner of the vehicle driven by
[Defendant] John Cavalzani.” (DE 1 ¶ 13). Although
Illinois Farmers Insurance Company's name indicates that
it is incorporated, Plaintiff has not identified in which
state Illinois Farmers Insurance Company has its principal
place of business or in which state it is incorporated.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1); N. Trust
Co., 899 F.2d at 594.
the complaint does not indicate whether Illinois Farmers
Insurance Company's subrogation of the owner of the
vehicle driven by John Cavalzani was total or partial.
“Determining a party's citizenship for purposes of
a subrogation claim requires determining whether the
subrogation was total or partial.” Cincinnati Ins.
Co. v. Greene, No. 1:10-cv-370, 2012 WL 1802325, at *2
(S.D. Ind. May 17, 2012).
If the subrogee has paid an entire loss suffered by the
insured, it is the only real party in interest and must sue
in its own name. If it has paid only part of the loss, both
the insured and insurer (and other insurers, if any, who have
also paid portions of the loss) have substantive rights
against the tortfeasor which qualify them as real parties in
United States v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 338 U.S.
366, 380-81 (1949) (citation omitted). “[T]otal
subrogation . . . results in focusing solely on the
subrogee's citizenship for diversity purposes, [while]
partial subrogation forces a look at both subrogee and
subrogor . . . .” Greene, 2012 WL 1802325, at
*2 (alteration in original) (citation omitted). Moreover,
Plaintiff has not identified the owner of the vehicle that
John Cavalzani was driving, much less alleged the citizenship
of such a person, which would be necessary for the purposes
of pleading diversity of the parties if it turns out the
Illinois Farmers Insurance Company's subrogation of the
owner of the vehicle driven by John Cavalzani was only
partial. Id. (citation omitted).
the complaint pleads the citizenship of Defendants Paola
Velez, Martiniana Velez, Juan Pablo Velez, and Illinois
Farmers Insurance Company “upon information and
belief.” (DE 1 ¶¶ 8, 13). However,
“[a]llegations of federal subject matter jurisdiction
may not be made on the basis of information and belief, only
personal knowledge.” Yount v. Shashek, 472
F.Supp.2d 1055, 1057 n.1 (S.D. Ill. 2006) (citing
Am.'s Best Inns, Inc. v. Best Inns of Abilene,
L.P., 980 F.2d 1072, 1074 (7th Cir. 1992)); see
Ferolie Corp. v. Advantage Sales & Mktg., LLC, No.
04 C 5425, 2004 WL 2433114, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2004);
Hayes v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, No. 02 C 9106,
2003 WL 187411, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 21, 2003). Therefore,
Plaintiff's allegations of diversity jurisdiction are
deficient with respect to these Defendants.
the complaint alleges that Defendant “Terrence
Sullivan, who died following the accident [alleged in the
complaint], was a resident of Colorado at the time of his
death. . . . Defendant Dennis Sullivan, a citizen of the
state of Colorado, was appointed as Personal Representative
of the Estate of Terrence Sullivan.” (DE 1 ¶ 9).
However, under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(2), “the legal
representative of the estate of a decedent shall be deemed to
be a citizen only of the same State as the decedent.”
See Hunter v. Amin, 583 F.3d 486, 491-92 (7th Cir.
2009) (observing that the federal diversity statute treats
the legal representative of a decedent's estate as a
citizen of the same state as the decedent); Gustafson v.
Zumbrunnen, 546 F.3d 398, 400-01 (7th Cir. 2008) (same).
residency is meaningless for purposes of diversity
jurisdiction; an individual's citizenship is determined
by his or her domicile. See Winforge, Inc. v. Coachmen
Indus., Inc., 691 F.3d 856, 867 (7th Cir. 2012);
Heinen v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 671 F.3d 669, 670
(7th Cir. 2012) (“But residence may or may not
demonstrate citizenship, which depends on domicile-that is to
say, the state in which a person intends to live over the
long run.”); Guar. Nat'l Title Co., Inc. v.
J.E.G. Assocs., 101 F.3d 57, 58-59 (7th Cir. 1996)
(explaining that statements concerning a party's
“residency” are not proper allegations of
citizenship as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332). Therefore,
Plaintiff must inform the Court of decedent Defendant
Terrence Sullivan's domicile at the time of his
Plaintiff is AFFORDED to and including February 12, 2019, to
file an amended complaint properly alleging a ...